News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 29, 2017
Stonington’s transfer station gets needed work
Increased recycling to follow

Transfer station manager Tom Brophy

Transfer station manager Tom Brophy points out the expanded acceptance of various plastics for recycling.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

Voters in Stonington have allocated, to date, approximately $200,000 for upgrades to the town’s transfer station. And those upgrades, said station manager Tom Brophy, aren’t going unnoticed.

“People have made comments about how nice it looks, and in turn we have had more participation from residents,” he said, referring specifically to increased efforts to recycle.

“We are working on what we will call phase one,” said Selectman Evelyn Duncan, who oversees the transfer station for the board of selectmen. Duncan, Brophy and Town Manager Kathleen Billings explained in a recent interview that phase one consists of engineering for the physical plant, buying a new compactor, and basic improvements to the recycling building to be able to accept more recyclable material, including a wide array of plastics.

A second compactor will be placed beside the existing one, said Duncan, and she hopes that water will eventually be piped to the building. Currently water comes from a nearby pond via a pump house, but having on-demand water to power-wash equipment regularly would be beneficial for the equipment, she said.

Issues involving solid waste and recycling are complicated, said Billings, and noted that there are many more issues that need to be addressed at a later date, including the possibility of a single-sort recycling effort, which she is currently exploring.

Voters can expect to hear more about increased efforts at the station in the coming year. In 2018, as the town severs its relationship with the Municipal Review Committee and stays with the PERC plant in Orrington, it will receive an equity share of a reserve fund, estimated to be around $220,000, which the selectmen will ask the voters to allocate for continued work at the facility.

The transfer station is open seven days a week (except major holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The facility consists of a recycling building, a “take it or leave it” area, garbage disposal and a burn area. There is also a bottle drop at the entrance, with all proceeds going to support an annual scholarship fund. To date, said Brophy, the fund has donated more than $103,000 to area students in pursuit of higher education.